Telus declares war on the Canadian Economy

Over the last few weeks, Telus has offered more than 4,000 Voluntary Severance Packages (VSPs) to USW Local 1944 members throughout Canada, representing a majority of their Unionized employees. This means that the very money that Canadians pay to Telus for telecom services is being used to pay Canadians to leave their jobs, thereby permanently eliminating good, middle-class, union jobs from this country. #ShameOnTelus

They say: These jobs are no longer needed as customers want self-serve options.

BUT we know: Customers want a knowledgeable, local employee to help them with their needs, especially given that they pay some of the highest telecom costs in the world.

They say: These job losses are the result of ‘significant investment in customer service technology’.

BUT we know: Telus customer service is already in chaos due to poor workplace systems, inadequate employee training, sales pressurization at the expense of service, eliminating onshore union employees, and sub-par contractor work quality. These job cuts will only make a terrible situation worse.

They say: They will only “allow several hundred” packages to be accepted for each of the two sets of 2,000 VSPs offered over the past few weeks.

BUT we know: They lie 

They have repeatedly misrepresented how many jobs they were going to cut and how many jobs they were going to offshore in the past.

They say: ‘We give where we live’.

BUT we know: Their revenue comes mainly from Canadians, including from Canadian government contracts, but they only ever reduce the number of jobs in Canada. At the same time, they insist on drastic and unnecessary concessions to onshore employees’ working conditions every round of bargaining. Canadian customers’ money is then used to hire more employees overseas, now more than double the number that are in Canada. Telus has essentially become a foreign telecom company.

Telus cannot declare war on the Canadian economy and expect to be seen as a positive contributor to Canadian society. Telus cannot be allowed to sell out the quality of the services they provide, while acting like they are doing so due to the demands of customers.

Telus is fundamentally hypocritical, and collectively, as the Union, we have the ability and responsibility to reveal this hypocrisy to Canadians. And we will not stop until Telus’ true colours are known to all.

USW Local 1944 is taking the following actions, rapidly, in response to Telus’ proven willingness to harm Canadian communities and the Canadian consumer:

1)  Reveal Telus’ hypocrisy to the public on an ongoing basis, by a variety of methods, using a variety of information channels

2) Lobby politicians to maintain high standards of telecom quality, and protect Canadian employment, restricting the ability of companies like Telus to compromise both through actions such as offering these 4000 VSPs.

3) Investigate and pursue all viable legal avenues to challenge the validity of these packages.

4) Engage support from members to participate in each of these campaigns, both members who will stay and those who may take packages. Members have a powerful ability to speak to the reasons that job loss will degrade Telus services, and the reasons why they felt they needed to leave Telus, such as an increasingly toxic workplace culture (high pressure sales, metrics, etc).

Please stay tuned as these actions are launched, and to find out how you can help.

In Solidarity,

USW Local 1944